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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

The coming fight for oil

Evan Osnos, Chicago Tribune
The roaring Chinese economy needs more oil. It’s turning to America’s friends to get it.

China had enough oil to sustain itself just 15 years ago. Now it is one of the world’s thirstiest oil addicts, importing 40 percent of what it needs. Only the U.S. consumes more.

Each new factory churning out goods made in China and each new car on Chinese highways adds to a ravenous appetite for raw materials, not only oil but timber, copper and soybeans. Satisfying that appetite has sent Chinese oil explorers around the world–first into the arms of America’s enemies but increasingly to friends as well

The 19th Century saw the British Empire and czarist Russia jockey for control of Central Asia in a Great Game of global strategy. Today the game is gathering again, this time between China and the U.S., as China makes its biggest push for influence in this oil-soaked region since the days of the Silk Road.

No nation is more in play than Kazakhstan, where China’s new oil pipeline snakes for 620 miles and may one day reach the shores of the Caspian Sea.
(19 Dec 2006)
This is the third in a Chicago Tribune three part series called ‘China’s great grab’, which includes online video.

African perspectives on China in Africa

Various, Pambazuka News 282
…Chinese engagement with Africa has become the topic of serious analysis and debate. In the field of governance, natural resources and markets, China’s presence is everywhere. Suddenly, Chinese influence in Africa has begun to top the foreign policy agenda of African governments. Chinese involvement in Africa has raised concerns about China’s commitment to human rights issues and its policy on arms sales to African governments, while in the areas of textiles and natural resource exploitation, Chinese competition has generated some adverse consequences for African industry and the environment. China has been pronounced the new imperial power in Africa, usurping the influence of Western governments. However, a more nuanced approach and understanding of China-Africa relations might be more helpful.

Historically, China has played a different role in Africa from Africa’s colonial powers, supporting African countries in various liberation struggles, providing educational opportunities and assisting in healthcare. Moreover, the rise of China in Africa does not just make problems for the continent, it also creates opportunities. As Stephen Marks pointed out in a recent editorial in Pambazuka News, Western corporations and governments now face competition – there is an alternative to the dictates of the international financial institutions – and this can give African states more room for manoeuvre. The African Union as well as civil society need to consider how to react to China’s challenge while avoiding ’uncritical acceptance on the one hand or mere rejectionism on the other’.

Despite the clear influence of China, research, policy, debate and analysis on China’s present and future role in Africa remains limited. All too often, the influence of Western policy towards Africa dominates development discourse. What is missing is an integrated overview of Africa’s own response, especially by researchers and activists on the ground and an ongoing forum through which such an integrated response can be developed and sustained.

With the support of Christian Aid and TrustAfrica, Fahamu undertook a work in progress to identify leading institutions, activists and academics within Africa who were working on China. In the course of this review, we commissioned a number of researchers to write papers on the key issues for both this special issue of Pambazuka News (issue 282 of 14 December 2006) and for a book, which we plan to launch at the World Social Forum.
(14 Dec 2006)
About a dozen articles seem to be online. The connection between these articles and energy is that the Chinese presence in Africa is largely due to the search for resources, particularly energy resources.

According to its website:

Pambazuka News is the authoritative pan African electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa providing cutting edge commentary and in-depth analysis on politics and current affairs, development, human rights, refugees, gender issues and culture in Africa.

Resource warfare intensifies across “Grand Chessboard” and Horn of Africa

Larry Chin, Global Research
With the world now one full year off the Peak Oil and Gas cliff (according to work of geologists such as Kenneth Deffeyes), it is no surprise to see geostrategic tensions superheating quickly in several key oil and gas regions, as the world’s superpowers and multinational energy giants (supported by their nation’s militaries and intelligence agencies) intensify their combat over remaining energy supplies.
(23 Dec 2006)
We really don’t know yet if we’re over the peak oil cliff yet (if so it’s probably almost certainly only for conventional oil, not ‘all liquids’). A good point though, that it’s now one year since conventional oil production peaked, making that date the ultimate peak ever more likely. Larry Chin’s short article looks at Turkmenistan and Somalia in the context of peak oil and resource wars.

Here’s all liquid production up to September 2005 via